Making Flowers

Orchids And Warbler Bird Watercolor Illustration

There was a time when I avoided sketching flowers like “Orchids,” our prompt for today, because I didn’t think my style was gentle enough to make them look pretty. Mine is not a delicate or muted approach, but one with bold lines and often bolder colors. It took me two full months to get the courage to sketch my first flower, which ended up being just a tiny pink blossom hidden in the leaves of a banana tree. It was a shy way to approach things. And indeed, it wasn’t a delicate approach, but looking back, it had its own sort of interesting style. Early on, I was making far too many mental comparisons to others and failing to find the unique beauty in what I made. So, I would quietly avoid certain subjects that I was nervous to try. Today, I’m happy to say that I’ll now sketch anything, and that I love everything I make! And I think you should love everything you make as well! It’s all wonderful in some way or another, even when it doesn’t turn out as expected. Sometimes, in life and art, the unexpected can be even more wonderful.

Another one in my list of things I was “scared to sketch at first” was people. I got over that fear by simply sketching a few and it wasn’t so bad. That said, I don’t sketch humans now by choice, save the occasional appearance of Little Charlie. I prefer to add a creature of some kind to give my sketch a little life, allowing people to put themselves in the story. That is, of course, unless someone doesn’t like a particular creature that I’ve chosen. But the majority of my human stand-ins are dogs, cats, and birds. which most folks seem to enjoy. Looking back at my earliest entries, I could sense of lot of my own trepidation. The little fears that were always there looming over me as I tried sketching each new thing. I’d love to say that those fears went away entirely, but there are still some days when I’m less sure of myself. But, I can say that, these days, I’ve harnessed all of the courage of my inner child and no longer worry about anything I make. It’s not pure confidence, but it’s close enough to always get the job done each day.

As a kid, I had dreams so big they would probably never come true. Sometimes, as an adult, I find myself wanting to edit out dreams that just feel a bit impossible. Whether it’s because I lack the time or feel I may lack the skill to accomplish them, I attempt to hold myself back, at first. Truly, without that little voice of my inner child, I’d probably just move on to the next thing and never worry about those dreams again. But, thankfully, that voice returns, and unlike the adult voice, this one is rather quiet and unassuming. It’s the voice of a shy boy who simply says, “can we, at least, give it a try?” Each time, this feels like a revolutionary thought to me. While tirelessly going over scenarios and possible outcomes in my mind, once again, I’m reminded that there’s really only one way to find out if something is truly possible. So, today, I stay determined to keep dreaming those dreams that might never come true. Because, with just a little hope and practice, I’ve learned that I can do things I never imagined that I could. Some big things like producing movies or publishing books, but mostly just those little things, like grabbing a sketchbook and making flowers.

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Orchids And Warbler Bird Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail


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  1. Karen Fortier 3 years ago

    I love this Charlie! You are the inspiration that I need today. As I struggle to get 15 paintings of florals painted for an upcoming show I now can shut off the adult voice and finish the task at hand. My style is what it is and it is not botanical. I like what I paint and will use the larger paintings that I have. That means if I finish two more I am good to go! Lost sleep and nerves, I’m done with you. I’m way outside my comfort zone and that is ok. Thanks Charlie, you truly did help more that you know!☺

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Karen! 😃💕I’m so thrilled to hear that! Yes you can DO it! And yes, that adult voice won’t help as much as your inner child. A comfort zone is something we learn as we age…. it’s not a real thing at all. We can do anything when we realize that any zone we find can be a comfort!

  2. Sandra Strait 3 years ago

    Isn’t it funny, how we’ll pick certain things to be afraid of doing? Your rambles are always a reminder to me that I really should paint the things I’m least interested in doing.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Yay to that! 😃💕I’ve no idea how to make a prompt list like that, but we should always seek to paint our fears. It’s such a great exercise!

  3. Mary Roff 3 years ago

    Beautiful orchids, Charlie!!

  4. Lisa Ann Ulibarri 3 years ago

    They are gorgeous!!! As many say the word impossible with a space.. I’m possible. sorta giving us the motivation to do anything cuz its possible. 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Lisa! 😃💕Yes!! We are all possible! And that makes anything possible!

  5. Claire Randall 3 years ago

    Thankyou Charli, this site is so supportive, I’ve never been brave enough to show people my paintings because of fear and Iwhen I have I’ve have had some pretty awful feedback too. But this new year I made a resolution to be more open about my painting. This site is truly wonderful and so supportive. Really helping me to open up. Thankyou

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Aww I’m so thrilled to hear that, Claire! 😃💕Your paintings bring so much joy! They’re beautiful! Keep sharing!

  6. Lisa 3 years ago

    Charlie O’s No Fear School of Art Making. That’s got a nice ring to it. My favorite college professor told me once that I always sounded so confident that even if I gave the wrong answer, everyone believed it was correct. Lol! Confidence is a hard won skill. But once you have it, you can do a lot of stuff you never imagined, because, of course I can.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      hehe! Thanks, Lisa! 😃💕 I like that name! And yes, confidence is just life’s way of showing us what we’re meant to make happen.

  7. LoriCtoo 3 years ago

    Beautiful little scene! We all need a little push occasionally. You pushed me last month with that tiger cub. Now I know I am capable of sketching from real photos that aren’t Disney characters. Tee hee. A big thanks to you and Sandra Strait for showing us how to approach them too!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Lori! 😃💕Aww yay! It’s awesome to jump outside that comfort zone and make something new! Of course you can DO it… but … it takes trying to figure that out. 😉

  8. Linda Calverley 3 years ago

    I like that you add a little creature to your pictures.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Linda! 😃💕 I think the little creatures give a bit more story!

  9. Priscilla DeConti 3 years ago

    Thanks for a lovely picture…and lovely words…Keep dreaming as you never know!

  10. Jerson Antao 3 years ago

    Well I love nature a lot Charlie and when it comes to flowers their colours make more attractive just like your Orchids..Nice attempt Charlie..keep going!

  11. Susan Masters 3 years ago

    Thanks for the story really helps as I struggle with my orchids … anything is possible

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Susan! 😃💕Yes, indeed! Anything at all is always possible!

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